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SBA Lending Hits All-Time High in South Carolina

Anna Huntley, 803-253-3753

U.S. Small Business Administration lending in South Carolina reached a record high of $298.2 million in the 2015 federal fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. Lending under the 7(a) program, the SBA’s flagship loan program, accounted for $275.9 million of that total, smashing last year’s 7(a) record by $69 million.

The SBA approved a total of 485 loans in fiscal year 2015, over 100 more than last year’s total and the highest number since 2008. Of those, 449 were 7(a) program loans.

“This year’s record loan dollar volume and overall increase in loan approvals is a direct result not only of the SBA’s newly streamlined programs, but also of the lending community’s continued support of our programs and especially of South Carolina’s small businesses,” said Elliott Cooper, district director of the SBA’s South Carolina district office.

The record year of SBA lending in South Carolina, particularly under the 7(a) program, echoed the nationwide trend. Nationally, SBA 7(a) lending in fiscal year 2015 reached 63,000 loan approvals totaling $23.6 billion, an increase of 22 percent in number of loans and 23 percent in dollar volume over 2014.

Wells Fargo was the top 7(a) participating lender in South Carolina, with 120 7(a) loan approvals totaling $24.7 million. TD Bank had the second-highest number of loans and third-highest dollar volume with 51 approvals totaling $20.5 million. Live Oak Bank, a North Carolina-based lender specializing in niche industries, had the second-highest loan volume with 18 approvals totaling $22.9 million. Celtic Bank, a Utah-based small business lender, had the third-highest number of loans with 22 approvals totaling $3.6 million.

The SBA backed 36 loans totaling $22.3 million through its 504 program, its subordinate mortgage financing program for fixed assets, in fiscal year 2015, a 33 percent increase over the 2014 total. Columbia-based Certified Development Corp. of S.C. was the state’s top 504 lender with 13 loans totaling $8.3 million.